Sleep disorders: Kids that go bump in the night

Babies are truly a miracle and are fragile when they are first born. They require constant attention and care during their first year of life. Sleep is vital for their growth and development. A newborn baby averages sixteen hours of sleep a day and they get the amount they need in thirty minute to three hour segments. The amount they get is normally evenly dispersed between day and night. Most babies wake throughout the night to feed until they are around eight months old. When they are breast fed, they are more likely to wake and do so more often. They may have trouble sleeping for many easily resolved reasons including hunger, dirty diaper, sickness, pain, and frustration.

Even though it may be hard to believe, babies just as older children and adults can suffer from a sleep disorder. The types they suffer from are more limited and range from mild to severe. Parasomnias, obstructive sleep apnea, and SIDS are the most common disorders found among babies. Night terrors and sleep walking are parasomnias. They are not found in babies less than eighteen months. When they do occur, their sleep pattern is disrupted and they do not get the sleep they need.

Obstructive sleep apnea is found in adults and children, but the symptoms for babies and older children are quite different. Babies will continuously snore when sleep and breathe through their mouth. Their air passage can become completely blocked causing them to stop breathing. This is a very dangerous condition that can greatly stunt their development and be deadly if not treated. The cause for this disorder is normally enlarged tonsils and removing them will remedy it.

SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is one of the scariest disorders every parent does their best to prevent. A baby suffering from SIDS stops breathing while asleep. They have to be encouraged to resume breathing. It is not something they automatically start doing again on their own. Certain genetic and environmental elements have been linked to this condition, but the overall cause has not been determined. Babies who are more at risk are set up with monitoring systems. These systems alert the parents as to when they have stopped breathing. Several things can be done to reduce the chances of SIDS from developing in an infant. First, a baby should always sleep on their back and have a firm mattress. No fluffy comforters or stuffed animals should be left in the bed with them while they are sleeping. A baby sleep system can be used to prevent them from turning over while sleeping.

The best way to determine if your little one is having sleep issues from a sleep disorder is to be aware of their sleep patterns. If you notice any changing in their sleeping habits, all concerns need to be discussed with their pediatrician. When a baby does not get a sufficient amount of sleep can cause them to be cranky and be harmful to their development if not resolved. A pediatrician can evaluate any changes and determine if your child is suffering from one of these baby .

Babies naturally have odd sleep patterns and are up off and on during the entire day and night. Sometimes a sleep disorder can disrupt their already odd hours and prevent them from getting the sleep they need. Sleep apnea is a more serious condition often caused by enlarged tonsils that can affect your babies breathing. This condition along with SIDS and parasomnias can affect your baby’s growth and development if they do not get enough sleep for prolonged periods of time. If your little one has had a large change in their normal sleep routine and is not getting enough rest, it is time to discuss your concerns with their pediatrician.

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As parents, we want our children to peacefully sleep through the night. But a myriad of disorders, from obstructive sleep apnea to night terrors, afflict millions of children, leaving them and their parents exhausted.Dr. Gary Montgomery, the medical director of the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Sleep Center, tells HLN’s Kyra Phillips how to restore order if your kid has a sleep disorder. For more information please visit

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